Monday, 14 April 2008

Crossings of the River Thames 12 - Hammersmith Bridge

We swing a loop in the river and come round to one of London's prettiest crossings, Hammersmith. It has an interesting history, for many reasons. Most recently, it was shut down ten years ago for repairs, causing nearby Putney to be turned into a permanent car park and allowing Barnes to revel in its status as a village. There were also serious calls for the implementation of permanent closure but after repairs were carried out, the bridge reopened to road traffic, albeit a lot less than normal.

And so, we can see how pretty the Victorians were in their design etiquette. The current crossing is the second on this site, rebuilt by Sir Joseph Bazalgette of the London Sewer Network in 1887. Of course, as with many structures in this part of London, it was designed for the horse and cart of a million people, not the modern day city of eight million or the metropolis of fifteen million.

As I have mentioned, there is a history oo this bridge. Three times it has been the subject of terrorist attack. Once thwarted in 1939, once failed in 1996 due to 'technical problems' and finally in 2000 a bomb damaged the bridge. As the first suspension bridge in London, it has always had problems, not just by being a target but also in its design. Pretty, but throughly impractical.

Getting there and away:

Hammersmith (Nearest Tube). Or buses 33, 72 (24 hour), 209, 283, 419 and 485 cross over the bridge without much incident.

No comments: